Why gym wear matters

Navigating modern city life can feel more and more like an endurance sport, so it’s perhaps no surprise that comfort has been embraced as the style de jour. It’s become increasingly popular to wear sports clothing for almost any casual occasion or activity. Add to this the fact that, according to a recent survey, one in seven Britons are now members of a gym, and it’s no surprise that sportswear is far outpacing the growth of the rest of the clothing market (as found in this recent report).

As wellness grows to become the dominant trend across almost every sector, people are embracing ways to signal their healthy intentions. The growth of so-called athleisure shows no signs of slowing down, contrary to the shorter lifecycles of other fashion trends. As people look to broadcast their dedication to fitness, they are more eager than ever to spend money on looking the part, a trend affirmed by this report in trade title Business of Fashion. Here at ICON, we’ve seen first hand how t-shirts and merch can be incredible marketing tools, and here’s why personalised gym wear for your gym, fitness club or fashion label is a great idea.

People want a personalised experience 

While cheaper spaces like PureGym have made fitness accessible to everyone, those with the money to spend are seeking out more specialised fitness experiences. Where larger gyms are transparent about the ways their model trades quality for affordability, more boutique spaces are profiting off the desire for a more considered approach to working out. 

Gyms like ICON client BLOK are celebrated as much for their luxurious changing-rooms and stylish studios as they are their specialised range of classes, and have been able to sell their clients on workout gear as part of the lifestyle choices their spaces reflect. 

In a crowded market, identity is key

If you run a gym or fitness studio, cultivating a strong identity is one of the most important elements of the business. Well-considered fitness merch is a great way to do this: it’s a blank canvas on which to paint your brand, and in a medium that’s intimately connected to the service you offer. (For more inspiration, head here to see how cycle brands are successfully using merch.) With so much choice, potential members are drawn to spaces with bold identities that reflect how they want to feel about their health and fitness, and by offering your own merch it allows them to build a stronger connection to that environment.

Think about what is essential about your space’s approach, and craft a visual identity and tone of voice to reflect this. Consumers are drawn to narratives that they can see themselves in; your website, social media, newsletters, interiors and even staff uniforms should repeat and reinforce your unique message. As well as offering a welcome extra source of income, creating the right merch can play a vital role in this process.

View this post on Instagram

Powering through the week with some big @courtlynf energy: “Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Small steps turn into miles. Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.” 📸: @allanroeher

A post shared by P S Y C L E (@psyclelondon) on

Social media and style go hand in hand

As athleisure grows its market share, so the number of fitness and wellness influencers has been on the rise. Instagram stars like Kayla Itsines (11.8 million followers) or Youtubers like Adriene Louise (5.4 million subscribers) have turned to apparel and accessories as one of the most lucrative ways to monetise their followings. Fans want to believe they can achieve the body and live the lifestyle of their favourite digital gurus, and dressing like them is the first and easiest step towards this.

Likewise, if you can cultivate a brand which customers identify with, it could be your fitness garms that they’re donning in their social media posts. (Head here to go deeper with our guide on promoting a fashion line on social media.)

Your customers should be your brand ambassadors

Creating personalised gym-wear for your clients is an excellent way to monetize and incentivise brand loyalty. Some of the most successful fitness studios in the UK have grown thanks to their strong presence on social media. People are proud to share a sweaty #Psycle selfie after one of their classes (another fitness studio success we’re proud to count as an ICON client), using these snaps as both a humble boast and a badge of honour. If you make stylish, personalised workout gear available, clients will be even more incentivised to celebrate their workouts and tell the world they’re part of your fitness tribe.

Looking to create custom fitness wear for your gym or fitness club? At ICON Printing we can deliver fast turnaround custom printed t-shirts, tote bags, and more, counting clients from BLOK to Psycle, Another Space and Niketown. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.